Immigrants deserve chance to succeed in ‘land of opportunity’

[dropcap type=”4″]I[/dropcap]s compassionate immigration reform possible? Absolutely! If we get rid of the selfish agendas on both sides of the issue and focus on the human elements of both the immigrants and the nation, we can find a practical and humane solution.

Chris Benguhe is a columnist for The Catholic Sun. Opinions expressed are the writers’ and not necessarily the views of The Catholic Sun or the Diocese of Phoenix.
Chris Benguhe is a columnist for The Catholic Sun. Opinions expressed are the writers’ and not necessarily the views of The Catholic Sun or the Diocese of Phoenix.

But before we get to the specifics of that solution, first we have to realize why it’s so important. To do that we must come to terms with what this country is all about — humanity!

We are a country built on the greatness of, and respect for, humanity. In fact, we are the only country on the face of the earth that was created from the belief that all human beings have the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So to deny those who want to come here in search of that — that seems pretty illogical at best and downright selfish and hypocritical at worst.

Now some might argue that’s just the Catholic in me speaking, which all of you should hopefully agree with. But what about the practical, hard-lined American who wants to make sure we are not endangering our economy, our criminal justice system or overloading our entitlements? What of them?

Well, I recently spoke about all those issues on a national talk show, “On Point,” with one of the nation’s most conservative hosts, Tomi Lahren, and by the end of the interview she was on board with my proposal for a solution, not because it was compassionate, which it is, but because it was practical and worked better than anything that we currently have in place.

https://youtu.be/BWa99IRu42c

The bottom line is that immigration not only improves this country, it is the substance of this country. Every single period of increased immigration in this country’s history has led to increased prosperity and greatness.

But it can and needs to be done lawfully and practically. Right now it is subject to a ridiculously arbitrary system dominated by government red tape that sometimes leaves people waiting 10 years or longer to get here. So let’s change the laws to make it more accessible, more logical and more productive for America and new potential Americans.

How about a free market approach to immigration? In other words, let as many immigrants come (the supply) as we have jobs that need to be filled (the demand).

Right now we have a gigantic, porous border where thousands in search of a better life are risking life and limb to sneak across. No wall no matter how high will stop them from digging under, breaking through or toppling over. But if we funnel them through the front door where they would be processed completely with extensive background checks we would be far more in control of who we let in and who we didn’t.

And the new criterion for that would be that anyone can come here as long as there is a job that they can do that needs to be filled and they agree to certain entry requirements. They would agree to accept a job at below minimum wage, or below the standard pay for that job, for one year in order to subsidize a language and culture immersion program that would be administered and/or paid for by the company that hired them, which was getting the benefit of their temporary lower wage. (That would amount to an exponentially lower financial burden on them than what they are now paying to illegal coyotes to get them here.) And they would agree to a fast track to citizenship to become citizens within two years.

The bottom line is that legal immigration makes America strong, so we need to make it easier for logical legal immigration to take place. This would save the country billions of dollars in the short and long run in enforcement, the mess of currently creating a dual language system, and the cost of having an entire shadow subculture society here that we can neither control nor monitor, not to mention who feel understandably less beholden to the Unites States than those that are acknowledged and welcomed.

As for the Trump-like arguments, study after study show that the percentage of immigrants in our prison system is about half of the incarceration rate for those born in this country. Immigrants don’t come here to steal and commit crimes. They can do that anywhere. They come here for the opportunity for a better life. And they make a better life for all of us by making America more diverse, more capable, more productive and richer.

Every American should want that. But certainly around 80 million Catholics who heed Christ’s message to share the prosperity of life with others should want to extend an invitation to all who want to share in the work and the reward.

Please join me, my Catholic brothers and sisters, in my compassionate and practical solution, or at least think about it.